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DIY Automatic Solar Emergency Lighting System

solar setup
fig 1. shown is the original
upgraded DIY solar setup. 

It was seven years ago when I wrote an article and posted about my DIY Solar panel project, years have gone by, and lots have changed since then. 

Today, I will be sharing what I was able to build more than a year ago, that indeed is a great upgrade from my old setup.  This time being able to design and install my own DIY emergency light solar powered system, which I have been using for more than a year now.  

All images that I will be uploading are mine and were taken when I was setting up the system last June 2022.  So here it goes. 

Although the upgraded installation as shown in figure 1, from my very old setup which I have already wrote an article about years ago was functioning well, I do find it difficult at times to turn it on when a power outage takes place at night, given that I need to have a readily available lighting unit that I can use so that I can manually turn on the system, given that it is located at my downstairs office. 

After doing some drafting for a possible design, I was able to finally arrive at one that I can initially test making it my first proof of concept.

The design is very crude and simple since it simply requires installing an AC sensor that will automatically switch a separate DC based lighting system to the solar charged battery system, once it senses an AC power outage.   

Test Installation

After having bought all the require materials from Lazada, prior to its final installation, I assembled a temporary system that will allow me to test the AC line sensor if it is capable of properly switching the DC solid state relay that I will be using to switch the DC based lighting system that was already set up around the house. 

DC Lighting system

The DC lighting system was composed of three 12v DC lighting units with two of which installed at the second floor of our house which is our main living area, and the other unit, installed at my home office located at the first floor, with a total lighting wattage of 18 Watts. While the battery system is a two-set series-parallel combination of two Lithium-ion cells.

Battery Packs

One of the Battery packs was a combination of reused lithium-ion cells that I was able to gather from old laptop battery packs, while the other pack was a combination of newer lithium-ion cells that I was able to buy brand new from Lazada.  Each of these battery packs has its own load balancing module that will ensure a balanced charging.

When these two battery packs were combined, it has an estimated total Ampere-hours of 34.8 Ah + 16Ah or 50.8Ah.

Test Result

The initial test result did not go well as expected since the AC line sensor's optocoupler was not capable of switching the solid-state relay that I bought.

After a few searches from the Internet, I was able to determine that the problem lies on the biasing of the switching transistor since the switching current is not enough to switch on the relay, as a remedy, I simply replaced the transistor collector biasing resistor to increase the current output and allow it to switch the solid-state relay.  

Final Test Result

After the changes that I have made, i rewired the system and this time the testing went well, this led me to the next phase of the Installation which I will be writing about in my next succeeding articles after I have discussed and explained the circuit that I have used for this installation.

Till then, seeyaa! 


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